Steve McMichael, 63 Diagnosed With ALS
Stunning and tragic news as NFL and professional wrestling legend Steve McMichael announces that he has been diagnosed with ALS and will step away from public life. Diagnosed last September, McMichael's condition has declined rapidly, he no longer has use of his arms or hands, needs assistance for daily tasks and utilizes a custom wheelchair. Also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, ALS results in eventual total paralysis and eventual death. "This ain't how I ever envisioned this was going to end," McMichael said on a Chicago television interview. He added that the dreaded disease snuck up on him 'like a cheap-shotting Green Bay Packer.'
Former coach Mike Ditka said he noticed last year that McMichael was having health problems. McMichael starred as a defensive tackle with the Chicago Bears for 13 seasons and played 15 years professionally overall. He still ranks second in Bears franchise history with 92.5 sacks and played in 191 consecutive games. After football, McMichael joined the pro wrestling ranks, initially tag-teaming with fellow NFL legend Kevin Greene. McMichael was a mainstay on WCW telecasts in the late-1990s both in the ring and as a commentator. Other NFL players such as Dwight Clark, Steve Gleason and O.J. Brigance have fell victim to ALS. Neuroscientists estimate (but not proven) that pro football players are at four times the risk to develop the disease. McMichael compares going through simple tasks today to be as grueling as bench-pressing during his athletic career. "That's what my world is now," he said.